Friday, December 28, 2007

Aleve or a leave?

I will never forget the confusion that was caused a few years ago when Dr. Swank told my wife to take a leave. We were not sure if he meant Aleve or a leave from work. We knew that he recommended my wife not working at all if possible, and if she was having problems he would ask if she could take a few days off to rest and recoup. Today is one of those days when she probably needs Aleve and to take a leave from life to rest.

We just returned from a weekend in Cloudcroft NM for the holidays. It was beautiful and we played hard the whole weekend. They had received a foot of snow a few days before we arrived, so there was enough snow to sled on but not enough to cause any driving issues. We hoped they would have the small ski area open in Cloudcroft, but there wasn't enough snow for them to operate it. So, we opted for sledding and snowball fights and just plain fun.

We never know how my wife's MS will affect a trip like this, so we usually try to over prepare so that we have all the necessary things we might need. This trip was nothing out of the ordinary. Most Multiple Sclerosis sufferers have an aversion to heat and have to stay away from hot baths and the hot days of summer. My wife is affected by it, but not to the extent we read about others that are highly sensitive to heat. One thing she is affected by is cold. If we plan well, she doesn't have too much of a problem, but if she ever gets chilled it is extremely hard for her to get warm. On this particular trip, we knew we were staying in a Bed and Breakfast that was a little drafty, so we brought our own space heater and extra blankets.

The cold ended up not being an issue because of our planning, and we had a blast. She even flew down the hill a few times on the sled and was laughing and having fun the whole time. She amazes me by what she can do, especially when I know that she has to always worry about the MS. Years ago she lost her eyesight right after mountain climbing, so we both are concerned when she has a lot of stress on her physical and mental state. She was scared this trip because of the height and speed of the drop we were going down, but she still jumped on the sled and flew down the hill.

Something we have noticed through the years is that she can handle physical activity in the cold. She and I both love to snow ski, and as long as she "listens" to her body, we can ski for days without her having any issues. She has to be careful that she doesn't tire out her legs, but the lift ride usually helps to keep her fresh and ready to go again. This weekend was no different, we all were going non-stop from the time we arrived in Cloudcroft, and she did great. She made sure and rested when possible, and she went to bed early so that she could get a full nights sleep. We knew that so much activity would begin to catch up with her, so she is going to spend the next few days resting and sleeping as much as possible to recover.

MS can be a real burden and downer sometimes, but this past weekend was proof that good planning can lead to a great time. One day we hope that she will not have to be so careful, but for now we will take those moments when she is feeling great and flying down a hill. Those are the memories we want to create for our daughter and for us - memories of us laughing, playing and enjoying life to it's limits.

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